For their E3 press conference every year, Sony’s plan is basically the same: go last on Monday and blow their minds. For the second year in a row, they have done just that.
This year’s focus was less on console hardware, especially dying or dead hardware (looking at you Vita and PS3), and more on games and the VR experience.
We will start with virtual reality. Being the only console manufacturer with a stake in the game at E3 this year, Sony wanted to accomplish two things: reassure those that pre-ordered the PSVR and make all those that passed on it, regret their decision. After the press conference, I fell into the latter camp.
The game that grabbed me the most was Resident Evil 7. Previously referred to as The Kitchen, this just completely blew me away with its atmospheric tone and narrative response. Then my regret was cemented by the Star Wars Battlefront X-wing VR Mission. I loved TIE Fighter and X-wing back in the day and now being able to pilot the X-wing in VR sounds right up my alley. They also showed a game called Farpoint and I know people got excited by Mark Hamill’s portraying the Joker in the trailer for Batman Arkham VR. Whether you think PSVR will be a success or failure, it is clear Sony is coming out swinging.
It wasn’t just all VR at the press conference, Sony showed off some amazing games, including known games, sequels and new IPs. A huge standout for me was Horizon: Zero Dawn. Pretty quiet since last year’s E3, Guerilla Games brought out some compelling gameplay that included taming robots, the size of the map and what happens when machines get corrupted.
The Last Guardian made its final appearance on the Sony E3 stage with an interesting look at the game that had more than one trico. As we know almost nothing about the story, we will have to wait to see how this all is connected. There is now a release date for Last Guardian of October 25, 2016.
We finally saw some gameplay of Detroit: Being Human with an emphasis on choice and the consequences of making those choices. Speaking of choice, Sony is choosing to bring back Crash Bandicoot. There were two announcements: the first three games will all be remastered and brought to the PS4, and Crash Bandicoot will be heading to Skylanders Imaginators. We also saw a teaser for a new Spider-Man game from Insomniac Games, of all people. Definitely need some more web slinging in my life. I just wish I knew if the costume design has meaning.
The entire show opened up with God of War. It’s not “4,” but it’s not a reboot. In the trailer, Kratos is at a more advanced age. What I really took away from this was the range of emotions that are beyond Kratos’ default setting of rage. One game we definitely knew would be at the show and excited the audience was the space combat in Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. Showing the floaty combat definitely makes you realize that the skills that some players will acquire when this game hits later this year.
There were two new IPs shown at E3 and due to their awesomeness, I left them to last. Hideo Kojima brought out the announce trailer for Death Stranding. The trailer definitely made me raise my eyebrow, but I think it’s great that Kojima finally is getting to work with Norman Reedus. At the end of the show, Sony showed some gameplay of their newest IP – Days Gone. Being developed by Sony Bend, Days Gone follows a drifter named Deacon. Before things went apocalyptic, Deacon was a part of a biker club and had a love. Now he has nothing, but his work as a mercenary and the road. It looks really intense and I am excited to see more in the future.
I must admit I felt a little lukewarm about all the press conferences on both Sunday and Monday until this show. I think Sony has positioned themselves strongly in 2016 and beyond.